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Hans Christian Andersen - A Danish storyteller and poet

Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2nd, 1805 as the son of a poor shoemaker and a washerwoman on the Danish island of Funen in Odense.

As a child, he was both a very shy, scared child and a loner.

Hans Christian Andersen loved it when his grandmother Katharine told him fairy tales. He was always a good listener.

During his school days he wrote his own poems and puppet shows. His father died very early.

At the age of 14 he should choose a career path. According to his mother's wishes, he should have been a secretary or a tailor.

But he didn't like that at all. He scraped together his pocket money, 14 thalers in total, and set off for Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, to get a taste of the profession of actor, dancer and singer. It was unsuccessful.

Even his own written plays were unsuccessful. His lack of schooling was his undoing. With God's help and a dash of ambition, however, he did not give up hope.

He found support on the one hand from personalities who had great influence, on the other hand also from the Danish king. It was felt that this talented writer needed a helping hand.

From 1822 to 1828 he attended Latin school in the small provincial town of Slagelsen and graduated from high school.

Towards the end of his school days he wrote the little masterpiece "The dying child". This poem, published in many countries around the world, described the world through the eyes of a young child.

From this point on he devoted himself only to writing. He wrote poems, short stories, novels and plays.

With the money he earned, he first fulfilled his dream - to get to know different countries.

In the years 1831-34 he traveled to Germany, France and Switzerland. The impressions he gained were reflected in his writings.

On his travels he was always a welcome guest; both at royal courts and in poet circles.

In his life he made the acquaintance of famous people; in Germany with the Brothers Grimm and Heinrich Heine, in England with Charles Dickens and in France with Viktor Hugo.

The first fairy tales were published in 2 issues in 1835, including the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea”.

He was never married, but once fell madly in love at a young age. But since his great love had already been promised to another man, all that remained was her farewell letter. He carried it close to his heart in a leather pouch for his entire life - until his death.

In the fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" he processed his painful love story. In 1849 the first anthology was published with 11 booklets containing 50 fairy tales.

In 1872 there were a total of 156 fairy tales and a few stories.

Hans Christian Andersen died on August 4, 1875 in Copenhagen at the age of 70.

Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales have been translated into more than 100 languages.

The fairy tale of the ugly duckling who turned out to be a proud swan reflected his life again. His autobiography, which was written in 1846, was therefore entitled "The fairy tale of my life."